Archive | July, 2012

For Ladies Wot Brunch… In Madrid!

24 Jul

** Firstly, I must apologise for taking so long to do this post.  It’s part of a series of late posts: I hope you enjoy them! **

Saturday 23rd June was the glorious day we flew out of Blighty in search of some sun, sangria and super fun times!  Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we arrived at Gatwick airport, checked in and shopped (of course!) before boarding the plane for the journey, which in itself was 2 hours of catch up and concentrated gist on tap!

Once we arrived in Madrid, we hit the ground running.  We dropped our bags in our rooms at Room Mate Oscar, the plush 4* hotel/roof top terrace located in the trendy Chueca district, before hitting the town sightseeing, shopping, and basking in the baking  sun!

Thanks to our dedicated Vacation Specialist Team (VST), the weekend’s itinerary provided lots exciting opportunities to enjoy the best of Madrid.  We had lots to do and lots of fun doing it!  From visiting exclusive boutiques and madrileño monuments, to sampling the best of Madrid’s brunch menus and nightlife, we were never bored.  It also helped that we had a home body tour guide to lead the way *cough cough* tee hee hee

Food

Comida formed a big part of our trip and I was eager to take the ladies to some of my favourite restauants and secret food haven’s which I grew to love during the years I spent living in Madrid.

We settled for our share of  traditional spanish tapas in Plaza de Sol, feasting on paella, calamares, tortilla espanola (spanish omlette), huevos estrellados (broken eggs over fried potatoes and chorizo sausage), patatas bravas (potatoes with spicy tomato and garlic mayonnaise sauces) and so on, washing it all down with canas (spanish shandy), tintos de verano (red wine and lemonade) and of course sangria!  Delicioso!

There were of course a few restaurants which deserve a shout out –

Bazaar

This is my favourite training restaurant in the whole of Madrid.  Located in Chueca, it was a stone throw away from our hotel and did not disappoint (it never does).  The menu is simple with a twist and dishes such as lasagne and curry are given their own Bazaar bizarre stamp.  As it samples the best of trainee chefs’ handiwork, prices are not offensive at all and the staff are happy to cater meals to individual tastes, so my advice is try everything!

Lay Down

The lay down dining concept is very popular and you can find similar restaurants across global capital cities.  To be honest, apart from the cheesecake, which was pretty awesome, the food wasn’t anything to write home about(!) and if you were after fine dining, Lay Down Madrid wouldn’t necessarily be your first port of call.  However, if you’re after a venue where you can eat and boogie at the same time: this is your spot!  The live cabaret shows (all performed by an English in-house artiste) pulled out all the classic tunes and got everyone on their feet.  From raucous hen parties, to camp celebrities, Lay Down is a venue of mixed bag fun and frolics.  Party on dowwwn!

Café Oliver

Wow!  It is hands down the best brunching venue in Madrid.  Located in the quiet winding streets of Recoletos, the restaurant offers a family focused afternoon eating experience.  For 25€, you are fed like royalty!  Our starters of baked breads and condiments, eggs however you liked them and pro-biotic yoghurts were washed down with freshly squuezed watermelon and orange juice.  The hearty burgers went down a treat, although you definitely need to be explicit on how you want your meat cooked as the preference always leans to rare… Pancakes, fruits and complimentary mimosas rounded off our wonderful meal and we left like stuffed bunnies.  The service was impeccable and the bill which arrived in a cute, quirky sardine tin rounded off what was a great continental brunching date.  If you’re in the area, you must try it!

Diurno

This cafe-cum-takeaway-video & DVD joint represents the progressive flair of the Spanish capital.  Serving light meals, freshly baked goods and fresh juices/smoothies/shakes and cocktails you are guaranteed something sumptuous to tide you over until your next main meal.  We frequented Diurno for quick afternoon snacks and rich, alternative breakfasts.  Our final trip to Diurno earned us bonus cool take away bags, which held absolutely everything!  The food is on point, the bag is an added extra!  Don’t be shy make sure you ask for one when you go!

Highlights

Gaaaash!  How do I whittle these down?  Well the simple answer is I don’t! :p  A weekend full of beautiful ladies, sunshine and good vibes was bound to yield a plethora of great memories…

Celebrity hunnis – Madrid is not often hit with a group of foreign fabulous females on holiday(!) and so we were oooobviously mistaken for international celebrities on several occassions.  Of course, we used this to our advantage!  Several photgraphs and free drinks later, I think we started to believe the hype ourselves!

Stunting in the clurrrrb – Following our acquired celebrity stautus, it was only a matter of time before we accumulated a trail of admirers.  Our night out in RnB Club La Comedia had the ladies in fits of laughter.  From the chap who insisted on helping out our lovely Feyi who needed some shades to protect her eyes from the relentless strobe lighting, to the guy who wasn’t taking no for an answer from Miss Buky, the stunting performed that night was on another level!

England take a bow – Debo “Debs”, our resident football fanatic persuaded us to get involved in Euro2012 fever and we were lucky enough to have the big screen sectioned off in the hotel bar on the night England lost woefully to Italy.  Whilst the outcome of the match was not favourable, the banter with the waiters and Italian hotties present as well as the complimentary spring rolls were.  If this is what you get when England loose, I can’t wait to discover the associated benefits of winning!  Come one En-gerrrr-land!

Similar to the several hundred emails, polls, calls, BBMs and meetings required for the trip to Paris, we spent an ample amount of time and energy planning the Madrid City break.  And it was worth it!  The sunshine didn’t let us down and the never waivering attitudes of the Ladies ensured that our very first Brunch Club overnight trip was an excellent experience.  It was a blast!

Stay tuned for the next Brunch Club trip with a twist…

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Rukorah Special… At Roka

16 Jul

You may have heard about my lovely Ruki, one of my oldest friends (I’ve known her since I was born!), who also doubles up as my girl crush – she is THAT faaabulous!

As a cultured lady about town, Ruks is always on point with the restaurant recommendations and is one of my main restaurant go-to-gals.  Despite our disgustingly incompatible diaries, we always make time to catch up and have a girly laugh and decided to make it a monthly Must Do!  I’ve coined our catch ups the Rukorah (Ruki+ Deborah) Special!

A few months back, I blogged about our impromptu trip to Byron and our next catch up had to be documented.

Ruks took me to Roka, a Japanese restaurant on Charlotte Street, London.  The spot is uber cool, and I wouldn’t expect anything  less from my Ruki.

On arriving at the venue, it was clear we would be in for a good night.  The vibe in Shochu, the bar upstairs was crazy, sexy, cool and the dimmed lighting and animated din of savvy conversation in the restaurant downstairs set the mood.  To add the final cherry on top, as we waited for our meal to arrive, we spotted Emma and Matt Willis dining across the way, looking lovingly into each other’s beautiful faces.  Awww!

We went for the Tasting Menu to ensure we sampled everything and it was a real treat.  I liked some things more than others, but overall, it increased my appreciation for Japanese food and in particular, sushi (before, I wasn’t a huge fan!)

Food aside, as always, the evening was full of laughter, gist and cocktails.  I cannot wait for the next Rukorah Special with my Ruki Mama!

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For Ladies Wot Brunch… In Madrid! Video snippet

15 Jul

The Brunch Club recently ventured to the Spanish capital and we had a fantastic time!

Here’s a video snippet of the post to come…

My Public Love Affair avec L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon!

10 Jul

So a friend and I went to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon on a whim a coupla weeks ago.  We needed somewhere to eat near Holborn and it was the first suggestion.  Thank God we heeded this piece of fabulous advice!

Everything was on point – from the 3 layer fois gras, port reduction and parmesan foam amuse bouche (amaaazing!) to my mini fois gras and beef Robuchon burgers (deeelicious)  I lapped up every single thing that was presented to me like a french piglette!

I must apologise to my dinner date who was not amused by the random noises I made whilst lapping EVERYTHING up; it came from a place beyond normal dinner etiquette…  The food is seriously out of this world!

Apart from the world renowned purée potatoes which had me squealing like a giddy little girl, my favourite dish of the evening was dessert – Chocolat Tendance – Creamy Manjari chocolate, bitter chocolate sorbet and Oreo cookie crumb.  I don’t think there are any non-orgasmic-related adjectives to describe the culinary delight.  So I’ll just say it.  It was orgasmic!

Without sounding like the star-crossed Joël Robuchon-obsessed diner that I quite obviously am(!), I would strongly recommend the restaurant!  From the amazing food we ordered, to the plethora of in-between-surprises such as the pre-dessert raspberry coulis, pancotta and butter crumble cup and post-dessert petit fours, the evening was a foodie’s dream. I can’t comment on the price as I was lucky enough to be treated, but whatever it costs, it would have been well worth it.  2 Michelin Stars baby!  I’ll definitely be returning…

Délicieux!

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PLEASE BEAR WITH ME!  SEVERAL POSTS TO COME SHORTLY!!!

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